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State's Female Prisoners Struggle With Mental Illness 08:02
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New research finds most inmates in Massachusetts’ only all-female prison are mentally ill, addicted, victims of physical and sexual abuse and incarcerated for a minor offense. (AP)
New research finds most inmates in Massachusetts’ only all-female prison are mentally ill, addicted, victims of physical and sexual abuse and incarcerated for a minor offense. (AP)

A new study finds that "the majority of criminalized women in Massachusetts is mentally ill, has been victims of physical or sexual abuse, use drugs. . . and upon leaving prison find themselves unemployable. . .poor, sick and marginally housed."

Suffolk University anthropologist Susan Sered tracked the lives of 839 women released from Massachusetts Correctional Institution Framingham in 1995 for the study she co-authored, "Women and the Criminal Justice System in Massachusetts (PDF).”

Sered found that 85 percent of the woman she followed have mental health disorders on top of criminal records.

We speak with Susan Sered about her study and the lives of female inmates in our state.

Guest:

  • Susan Sered, associate professor of sociology, Suffolk University; co-author, "Women and the Criminal Justice System in Massachusetts: Where are they Now?"

This segment aired on July 19, 2011.

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